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Restrictions loom; busload to visit drought-affected areas

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Level one water restrictions are tipped to be introduced in mid-September if the region’s dam levels drop further and usage remains high.

According to Hunter Water, its total water storage sits at 65.7% capacity as of this week – the lowest since 1998.

Chichester Dam, located at the top of the Williams River catchment, is 69% full; Grahamstown Dam, near Raymond Terrace, shows 64.6%; Tomago reads 72.5%; and Anna Bay has hit 51.3%.

Hunter Water chief investment officer, Darren Cleary, believes it’s important to preserve supplies ahead of the summer season.

In June, the Hunter region used 4.174 million litres of water and, in July, that figure rose to 4.653 million litres.

“On average we use around 190 to 200 litres of water per person each day in the Hunter,” he says. “When compared to other areas, like Melbourne for example, where customers use approximately 160 litres a day, there’s more we can be doing to drive usage down.

“If the dams continue to fall and usage remains high, we could reach 60% storage in mid-September, which is the trigger for level one water restrictions.

“It’s really important we work together to save water.

“By making small, simple changes at home, we all could be using about four buckets of water less per day.

“Things like reducing our showers to four minutes and ensuring our rainwater tanks are working properly can make a big difference in how much water we use.”

Despite looming restrictions in pockets of the Hunter, many of the state’s rural towns are struggling with desperately low water supplies.

One group has already done its bit to support these drought-affected areas.

The third We Care Road Trip, led by organiser Anne-Marie Best, will send a busload of shoppers to five towns across the weekend of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September.

Gosford-based It’s Easy Tours has provided a 54-seat luxury super coach, plus fuel and a driver, for the group, which will visit Merriwa, Dunedoo and Gilgandra before staying overnight in Coonabarabran for a meet-and-greet with farmers.

“Coonabarabran’s water supply is still desperately low, and they are currently on level four water restrictions,” Ms Best says. “So, to really show our support and help them, I ask [the busload] to refrain from showering for just this one night.

“But, if you really need to shower, then ‘shower vouchers’ will be available to purchase on the coach – $25 for two minutes.”

After Coonabarabran, the road trip is then due to stop at Coolah on the way back to McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.

Ms Best says it raises awareness and money for drought-stricken farmers; encourages people to spend up big in the towns to bolster their struggling economies; and spreads love and support.

To get a seat on the bus, donate $100 per person, or more if you can, to charity Need for Feed (needforfeed.org).

Once you have made your donation, email [email protected] with a screenshot or copy of your payment confirmation.

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